Previous rank: No. 9
An all-time Pyrrhic victory for the 49ers. Nick Bosa. Solomon Thomas. Jimmy Garoppolo. Raheem Mostert. Key players essential to the team’s chances of a Super Bowl return, all knocked out of Sunday’s victory over the Jets before halftime. Crushingly, Bosa and Thomas were both diagnosed with torn ACLs. Garoppolo (high ankle sprain) and Mostert (sprained MCL) have unclear timetables. This on a team already without George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and others. Playing in a loaded NFC West, it’s hard to see how the 49ers can stay afloat with this level of attrition. If they do, Kyle Shanahan can start clearing room for his Coach of the Year award right now.
16) 49ERS -7
The injuries are crippling this team, which might make it tough to repeat as division champs. They dominated the Jets, but that wasn’t the story of the day with players like Nick Bosa going down.
9. San Francisco 49ers (1-1) -6
Week 2 ranking: 6
Under-the-radar fantasy standout: RB Jerick McKinnon
McKinnon was a deep sleeper before the season, as he was returning following two years away because of a knee injury. Now? He could be in line for a whole lot more work. With fellow backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman battling knee injuries, McKinnon is the healthiest back on the team, which could result in the big numbers the Niners expected when they signed McKinnon in 2018. That doesn’t mean McKinnon will carry the freight, but he has the big-play potential and pass-catching acumen to be a key part of the offense for at least the next few weeks. — Nick Wagoner
Prove it. That’s what the 49ers will have to do to earn respect. Fred Warner was asked what the feeling in the locker room is like, and he was adamant that the team is still confident and that there is still plenty of “good players,” even after all of the injuries.
This is a challenge the 49ers can embrace. Beat the Giants with Nick Mullens. Hopefully, you get Garoppolo back for Sunday night’s game against the Eagles in Week 4. The way Philly is playing, the 49ers should be favored in that game as well as Miami the next week. If they can go into Week 6 with a 4-1 record, that would silence plenty of critics.
After that, the 49ers will face the Rams, Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, and the Saints. It’d be great to go into that stretch fully healthy, or as healthy as the Niners could possibly be, and come out of that stretch 3-2. San Francisco will likely be underdogs in those games with their current injuries, but the team seems to respond well when their backs are against the wall. I can’t wait to see how the 49ers respond to the adversity they’re facing.